Keele Staff and the EU

At Keele we pride ourselves in our friendly and supportive community that has a genuine sense of inclusiveness. The work we do does not recognise national boundaries and is all the better for that. We are therefore fully committed to ensuring that Keele remains the welcoming community for people from every nation that it has always been, regardless of national or local political movements.

Keele University has received information from the Home Office about their pilot of the EU Settlement Scheme.  This phase of the pilot will be open to EU citizens working at Keele. Please note that staff who are from EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) do not currently fall within the scope of the EU Settlement Scheme and therefore are unable to participate in the pilot.  Irish citizens will not be required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as the rights of Irish citizens residing in the UK are protected after the UK leaves the EU under the UK-Ireland common Travel Area arrangements.

This update provides details of the EU Settlement Scheme, information on the pilot and details the support that Keele University is able to offer to staff who wish to participate in the pilot.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme?

The EU Settlement Scheme is scheduled to be introduced to all EU citizens following the UK’s departure from the European Union on 29 March 2019.  All, apart from Irish citizens, will need to complete the process before 30 June 2021, including those who have already obtained confirmation they are permanent residents in the UK.

The Home Office is testing the EU Settlement Scheme through a series of pilots ahead of the public launch. The second phase of the pilot starts on 15 November and runs until 21 December 2018 and covers employees in the higher education (and health and social care) sectors.

This pilot is testing the application process that will be used when the scheme opens fully next year. Those who choose to participate in the pilot will be requested to provide feedback to the Home Office about their experience which will be used to make improvements to the process before the Scheme fully launches to the public by 30 March 2019.

Participation in the pilot is entirely voluntary.  Basic information on the pilot and how it will operate is set out below. In addition to this information, you may wish to attend one of two open sessions which will be held on:

  • Thursday 15 November at 1pm in WM0.01
  • Wednesday 21 November at 1pm in WM1.01

These sessions will be delivered by Nicola Ratcliffe, Head of HR (Strategy & Policy) who will explain the pilot based on information sent to us from the Home Office. These sessions will be information sharing only and the University is unable to give you any advice on whether or not you should participate in the pilot.

Who is eligible?

A member of Keele staff who is either:

  • an EU citizen and has a valid biometric passport (this is an e-passport which has a digital chip). Biometric passports are usually identifiable by the following logo: biometric symbol
  • OR a non-EU citizen family member who has a biometric residence card with ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back (which would have been applied for on or after 6 April 2015)

All participants have to be Keele employees.  At this stage your family members will not be able to apply.  However, the Home Office have stated that family members will be able to link their applications to those who participated in the pilot when the scheme opens from 30 March 2019.

Application process during the pilot

To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme individuals will need to complete an online application:

  • Verify identity - You will need to have a valid biometric passport or biometric residence card (issued by the Home Office) to apply in this pilot. All applications must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify identity. This is currently only available to download on Android devices - an easy way to check if your device can use this app, is if your device has the technology to make contactless payments. Information on how to access the app will be included in the application process. If you cannot access this app during the pilot, there will be alternative ways for you to verify your identity once the scheme opens fully next year. After using the app to verify your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or on any smartphone, laptop or computer.
  • Criminality check - You will need to complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This should not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
  • Verify your residence in the UK - You will need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK. There are a number of ways you can do this. The easiest is to provide your National Insurance number. The Home Office will then check UK tax and certain benefits data and use those records to help work out how long you have been resident in the UK. You’ll get a result of this check straightaway. If you agree with the result, you can accept it and complete your application. If you disagree, this is not a problem, as you will be able to upload additional evidence of your residence. Information on the other types of evidence you can upload can be found on GOV.UK. Alternatively, if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to enter or remain, you will just need to provide proof of that status.
  • Pay any application fee – An application costs £65 for those aged 16 or over, but is free if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to enter or remain.

The Home Office have further information on their website: EU Settlement Scheme pilot: applicant information

This is a collection page where you can find more detailed information on the pilot, including eligibility, processing times and information on what evidence can be provided to prove residence.

Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families - this is the main guidance page on settled and pre-settled status.

What happens next?

If you would like to participate in the pilot you need register to take part by sending a blank email from your own email account to You can register now. The Home Office will be replying to emails on a phased basis from Thursday 15 November and it might take two to three weeks for you to receive your reply. The Home Office have requested that individuals only send one email, and advise that they should check their inbox and junk mail regularly for a response.

When you do receive a reply, it will contain a link to the online application form, and you will need to complete your application before 22 December 2018.

Applications made during this pilot are entirely voluntary, there will be no change to the current rights of EU citizens under EU law until the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020.  If you choose not to apply during this phase you will be able to apply once the scheme is fully open by 30 March 2019 and at any time up until 30 June 2021, in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

Support from Keele University

The Home Office have asked us to promote the pilot and we have agreed to communicate it to our EU staff. To assist those staff who do wish to apply for Settled Status during the pilot the University has agreed to extend the previously agreed support measures and will fund applications for Settled Status during this pilot.  We will also continue to fund applications for a document to certify Permanent Residence up to the UK exit from the EU on 29 March 2019. In addition, access to an interest free loan of up to £1,000 to fund Brexit related expenses will also be available until 29 March 2019.

Full details of the reimbursement process and the loan scheme can be found here, under the tab ‘Support for EEA staff affected by the outcome of the EU Referendum’.

The below information has been sent to all EEA staff.

Last month saw progress in the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union with the first phase of the negotiations now concluded. The Home Office has provided updated information for EU citizens living in the UK on the agreement reached with the European Commission on citizens’ rights which can be found here:

The agreement states that:

  • People who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’
  • People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status
  • EU citizens with settled status and temporary permission to stay will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits.

You are encouraged to read the information provided on the webpage in full. Our understanding is that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ and would note that adaptations could be made to the transitional arrangements in the second phase of negotiations. Below are some statements taken from the Home Office webpages which may be of interest.

When making an assessment of settled status applications, the Home Office ‘will not check that individuals hold comprehensive sickness insurance regardless of what activity you have been undertaking in the UK (see note 2). You will not have to account for every trip that you have taken in and out of the UK’

It is the Home Office’s intention that ‘you will be able to apply for this [settled] status before the UK leaves the EU, and that the scheme will remain open for applications for a considerable period, likely to be 2 years, after the UK leaves the EU’

For those who already have a permanent residence document ‘there will be a simple process for you to exchange this for a new settled status document free of charge’.

It is expected that the offer ‘will be extended to resident citizens of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland living in the UK. As the rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s country are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949, Irish citizens won’t need to apply for settled status’.

The Home Office continue to state that ‘there is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything now, including applying for a permanent residence document’, however we recognise that some colleagues may still wish to do so in advance of the scheme for settled status being launched in the latter half of 2018. The University has extended the support measures for EEA staff which were introduced last year to 29 March 2019; funding for applications for a document to certify Permanent Residence and access to an interest free loan of up to £1,000 to fund Brexit related expenses. Full details of the reimbursement process and the loan scheme can be found under the tab ‘Support for EEA staff affected by the outcome of the EU Referendum’ below.

The UK government have published a policy paper which sets out our offer to EU citizens and their families in the UK.

Members of staff can now access a recording of the ‘Free Movement in the UK and Brexit’ webinar which ran on 7 February 2017.

This webinar was hosted by the law firm Pinsent Masons and sets out the current immigration rules for EEA nationals and their family living in the UK.

Access the Webinar here:

Resources to support the webinar are also available on the same page.

Dear Colleagues,

Today, the Prime Minister officially invoked Article 50, triggering the UK’s formal withdrawal from the EU. This is a significant day in British history and, regardless of whether you are in support of Brexit or against it, what is clear now is that the UK will be entering into a period of extended negotiation over the terms of our withdrawal in two years’ time. On a very practical level very little will change in the short-term. The UK formally remains a part of the EU, subject to the same ‘terms and conditions’ as we have been previously, but alongside the broader political changes we are seeing globally, it may feel different for many people.

The negotiation process will be one that I am sure we will all watch closely and, whilst no formal negotiations have yet started, there have recently been several positive indications about universities in a post-Brexit world. The Government’s recent White Paper on Brexit principles included relatively positive signals in relation to the value of international talent and international collaboration for universities, and the topic of international students being removed from the immigration figures remains current in the corridors of Westminster.

Universities UK (UUK) continues to work tirelessly to promote the sector’s priorities to influence the negotiations and we will continue to monitor and support UUK’s efforts in this area as much as we possibly can. As we know more, we will of course share this information. I am particularly supportive of UUK’s two main priorities below, which they are representing to the Government on behalf of all universities:

Confirmation of rights to reside and work in the UK post-exit for EU nationals currently working in the sector, and their dependants
Confirmation that EU students starting courses in 2018/19 and 2019/20 will continue to be eligible for home fee status, and eligible for loans and grants
On the 24th of March, Scotland confirmed that EU students enrolling in a Scottish institution in 2018/19 will have their fees covered for the duration of their course and we therefore hope that this will trigger clarity on the situation for England very soon.

Colleagues will inevitably have many questions about the Brexit decision and what this will mean for the University. UUK have usefully published a list of FAQs related to Brexit on their website

I appreciate that for many colleagues, this formal confirmation of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may be causing further feelings of anxiousness and unease about the future. We recognise these concerns and I would also point you to our Keele and the EU webpages for updates and advice on the support offered.

We hope that the negotiations can bring about the best deal for the UK, our universities and, most importantly, our staff and students.

Kind regards,


The below information has been sent direct to all existing EEA staff.

The University has welcomed EEA staff to our community over many years and we will continue to do so as a genuinely international institution. We are very aware that the outcome of the EU referendum has created considerable anxiety and uncertainty for some of you, and the University has been very keen to ensure that you feel both valued and supported as colleagues during this time.

It is clear that Brexit negotiations will be detailed and lengthy, and the rights of citizens of EEA countries currently living and working in the UK will form an important part of the negotiations, but at this stage we recognise that you could not have anticipated the potential costs or complexities involved in clarifying and/or assuring your rights to live and work in the UK, following the outcome of the referendum, and during this current period of uncertainty.

So, following the legal briefings conducted a couple of weeks ago and based on discussions with a number of our European colleagues and information from across the HE sector, we should like to extend further support to you as set out below.

We would stress that the University cannot advise you how you might manage these complex matters and it is important that any decisions you make are the correct ones for you based on your particular circumstances.

Online legal workshop

The legal workshop on ‘Free Movement in the UK and Brexit’ will be available for staff to view in the next few days.

Funding for applications for a document to certify Permanent Residence

If you wish to apply for a document to certify permanent residence, the University will reimburse the fee for the postal application. The reimbursement will be available for applications made up to 31 July 2017. To claim your reimbursement, please send your request together with evidence that you have submitted your application (i.e. receipt or similar confirmation of payment) to Sue Mason in Human Resources. Please note that the reimbursement will be limited to one per member of staff.

Loans to fund Brexit related expenses

Recognising that staff may wish to seek and pay for specialist advice, or where based on such advice, and/or their particular circumstances, they choose to apply for UK citizenship (which carries a fee of £1,236), we will make available an interest free loan of up to £1,000 to assist with meeting relevant costs. The loan scheme will initially be available until 31 July 2017 but may be extended depending on demand and feedback.

Loans are only being offered to EEA staff affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Full details and terms of the loan scheme can be found here - KU Interest Free Loan Scheme.

We hope that these additional measures will help you – either in providing you further information locally, or in enabling you to access the services and advice you seek.

Dear all,

Many of you are likely to have followed the news over the weekend concerning Chancellor Philip Hammond's reassurance about continuity of funding:

HEFCE have welcomed the Government's statements of reassurance which come in the form of a letter from Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, to Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE; and a letter from David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to David Davis, the 'Brexit' Minister.

You can access both letters here:,109430,en.html

While we can all welcome these short- and medium-term reassurances, we will of course continue to lobby energetically for long-term solutions to the continued access to research, innovation and structural funding for the UK.

Best wishes,

Professor David Amigoni
Pro Vice-Chancellor

Dear colleagues

We continue to keep engaged with the wider sector to ensure that the issues and concerns of the university are being heard and represented. Below is an update on some of the recent activity across the sector related to higher education and Brexit.

Universities UK

Following a Universities UK hosted event on the 2nd August it was agreed that universities and the wider research community should articulate an ambitious global vision for higher education, including calling on Government to:

  • Support and enhance international research collaboration and innovation activities
  • Maintain and enhance the UK’s reputation as an attractive destination for international and EU students and staff
  • Ensure sustainable investment in universities, and place for research at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy

Universities UK are also continuing to meet regularly with Government officials and advisers over the summer period, including meetings in the next fortnight with Treasury, Home Office and BIS officials. In these meetings they will be pressing for urgent Government action on 2017-18 EU student finance arrangements and clarity about ESIF and Horizon 2020 funding for the duration of current programmes. They are also beginning to explore longer term issues relating to securing sustainable funding, future immigration policy and promoting international research collaboration and mobility.

Government Position

In a letter from Theresa May to Sir Paul Nurse (sent five days after she became Prime Minister and recently made public) the PM makes clear that science should be one of the main building blocks in the UK’s new industrial strategy, and that Brexit would not mean an end to European scientific cooperation. The PM is chairing a new Cabinet committee on the economy, which will focus on developing a "strong" industrial strategy, encouraging innovation, boosting productivity and creating opportunities for the young”. Important allies for the university sector on this Committee include Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark; Education Secretary Justine Greening; and Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid.

Commissioner Moedas reassures the European science community at ESOF

The EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Carlos Moedas visited the UK last week for the annual EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Manchester where Brexit dominated discussions. The Commissioner acknowledged ‘concerns about British staff being dropped by EU labs’ but was quick to ‘urge European scientific partners to choose based on excellence and merit rather than nationality ‘ reiterating that ‘for as long as the UK is part of the EU, it will retain the rights of the member state’. Minister Jo Johnson MP also spoke, recognising the demand for further clarity on European grant funding and researcher mobility and assuring the audience that his Department is working with colleagues across Government to provide answers ‘as soon as is practicable’. Dame Anne Glover also contributed, and called for continued freedom of movement for the academic workforce.

The Guild of European Research Intensive Universities has called on Jo Johnson to guarantee Horizon 2020 funding for all UK scientists, even after the UK leaves the European Union (EU). The organisation also urged the universities and science minister to guarantee Erasmus or Erasmus-equivalent funding for UK students beginning their degree programmes while the UK is still a member of the EU, and to guarantee “home fee levels” for all EU students.

Professor Mark Ormerod
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost


Following from the Vice-Chancellor's message of 7 July, drawing attention to the work of Universities UK in working hard on behalf of the sector following the referendum vote, here is a statement issued by Research Councils UK, outlining its own work on behalf of the sector and clarifying what we know about the position on research funding:

We would add these observations, specifically about EU funding. The Commission has acknowledged in its recent statements that all our rights and obligations under the existing treaties will continue to apply in the intervening period. Therefore, for anyone currently considering applications to European funding programmes (Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, etc.), there is no reason not to do so. The prime minister has stated that any signed contracts will be honoured, which was also the case when Swiss access to Horizon 2020 was restricted in 2014. The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, has confirmed in statements that the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the attendant rights and obligations, and that there should be no discrimination against British participants.

In the longer term, everyone acknowledges that the framework programmes have been good for the UK. The Science Minister, Jo Johnson, confirmed last week that the government aims to ensure that ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in European and international research and innovation. As a nation, we do extraordinarily well from the European Research Council, there is huge demand for Marie Skłodowska Curie students to come here, and the UK has recently displaced Germany with the largest share of participation in Horizon 2020 as a whole. In the longer term, it is likely that any future government would want to “buy in” in some form to Horizon 2020 and related programmes. It is a guiding principle of Horizon 2020 that it should be “open to the world” and it would seem illogical to try to exclude the UK from this, whilst currently signing association agreements allowing full access with more distant neighbours, such as Tunisia., Georgia and Armenia. Although there are some disadvantages to “associate member” status – for example, less scope to shape the programme and its research priorities – it is worth noting that the two biggest per capitabeneficiaries from European research funding in recent years have been Switzerland and Israel, neither of which, of course, is an EU member. Israel also has no free movement requirements and is a net beneficiary of Horizon 2020, so solutions are possible. The UK, with its highly-developed research base and the inherent advantage of being English-speaking, is likely to remain well placed to secure European funding into the future.

The university is seeking to engage with other affected parties in the sector and is engaging with our European representatives at UKRO and other stakeholders to learn more about future possibilities and will share updates from these talks in due course. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our European Research Funding Manager in DEP, Mark Pullinger (, who will be happy to try to answer any questions you might have in this uncertain time.

Professor David Amigoni
Pro Vice-Chancellor


As the uncertainty continues around the UK withdrawal from the EU I know that many of you have questions and concerns both related to your own situation and that of friends and colleagues. Whilst there are far more questions than answers, as a University we are anxious to do as much as we possibly can to keep you informed.

Universities UK are working hard on behalf of the sector to keep the interests of all universities, their staff and students, at the forefront of Government thinking. Earlier week they provided an update on their website with some key frequently asked questions. In relation to staff in particular they advised that:

The UK remains a member of the EU for the time being and the government has confirmed that there will be no immediate changes to UK visa policies for university staff currently, or contemplating, coming to the UK from the EU.

In terms of recruiting EU staff in the longer-term, this will depend on the kind of relationship the UK negotiates with the EU. Universities UK will work to ensure the UK government takes steps to preserve the free movement of EU researchers, scientists and academic staff.

To see their full update including information related to students and funding please go to

If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to bring to our attention then please visit the ‘Keele and the EU’ page which we have set-up on our website. I am sure that you can appreciate that information is very limited but we will do our very best to try and answer or sign post you to the most likely source for information or updates.

Professor Trevor J McMillan PhD MRCP(Hon) FRCR(Hon) FRSBVice-Chancellor


It will take some time for us to realise the full consequences of last week’s EU Referendum. As the political situation gets increasingly erratic and elements of society seem to get more polarised, it is critical that we in Universities do our utmost to ensure that our truly valued and respected colleagues, students and friends from the EU will remain so, regardless of what happens in the next few months and years.

At Keele we pride ourselves in our friendly and supportive community that has a genuine sense of inclusiveness. The work we do does not recognise national boundaries and is all the better for that. We are therefore fully committed to ensuring that Keele remains the welcoming community for people from every nation that it has always been, regardless of national or local political movements.

As Vice-Chancellor and members of the University Executive Committee we recognise the dismay and uncertainty that the referendum has caused for some of our European colleagues and we wish to confirm that we are determined to work through local and national forums to ensure that the potentially negative impacts of changes are minimised. We will absolutely defend our position as a globally facing international university that provides a home for excellence in scholarship through our diverse community and collaborations across the world. Our International staff, students and partners are vital for the success of Keele and we look forward to continued strong international ties including those within Europe.

Professor Trevor McMillan